The past few weeks, I’ve been working like crazy on the prequel to the E series. I’ve written approximately 90,000 words, and I’m coming to the ending. I’m at a bit of a stopping point, where I need to figure out a couple of things before I move on. But as I stop to think about this ending, which I mostly already have the answers to, I can’t help but think about the ending. You know. The big one. And really, I’m not sure where that will end up.
Some writers seem to know exactly where their endings will be, from the moment they start writing. They know that their characters will eventually get their happily ever after, or not. They know where the characters will be in the end. I, on the other hand, have more and more trouble committing to an end. For one, when I decide “Right, this is how it’s going to be,” I lose some of the excitement of the finding-out. I prefer to be in the story with my characters. They don’t know. I don’t know. It’s easier to be immersed in the writing, to be immediate. In the moment.
I cannot, however, help but play with the endings, batting them around in my mind like a cat with a mouse. There are so many delicious endings. How do you choose? Sometimes I wonder, is one more real than the others? More right? Do I try to please my readers? Please myself? There are so many questions. And really, all the endings seem right, because changing the tiniest detail in the story will change the outcome. It could happen in so many ways. So for me, the thousand twisted paths lead to a thousand true endings. I experience them all. But for my readers, there can be only one.
I don’t believe in tossing out alternate endings. As a reader, I have never appreciated them. I have always wanted the author to tell me which one is true. So I guess my job is to find the one true ending. And yes, I think there really must be. Because, when I think back on the books that I’ve loved, some of them have had the right ending, and some of them– favorite books or not– have failed to satisfy me in the end. The ones with the most impact had the right ending. An ending I could believe in. An ending that made everything else more potent. That brought meaning to it all. So yes, that’s the ending I’m looking for.
Along the way, I’ll try out a thousand more. And while, yes, I do know some important things about where it all ends, the most important are yet to be discovered. I’ll mostly try to keep my eyes closed— to avoid peeking too much— so that when the ending does get here, it will be as exciting and new to me as it is to you.